CLASS OF 1976 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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Alan Miller was recently named “Washingtonian of the Year” by Washingtonian magazine. Thirteen years ago, after a full career as a journalist, Alan founded the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan resource for educators and the public to develop critical thinking skills for evaluating news and information. One of the great features of NLP is the Checkology virtual classroom, a tool to help students and educators recognize credible news stories.

     Tom Kovar is still working at the V.A. and living near Northampton.  He’s still struggling with health issues that arose in part from a possible case of COVID last winter but remains cheerful and optimistic.  Given that gigging is out of the question right now, Tom has been continuing to play and write songs, and has found outlets for sharing music online. He’s looking forward to travelling to the Cape and to seeing friends and family in person again—soon!

     Arvid Bloom retired eight years ago after teaching psychology at West Chester University for 25 years. He remains active in his local photography club near Philadelphia; all meetings have been virtual lately. He enjoys taking long daily walks with spouse Gretchen, who retired from veterinary practice when he retired. Their 30th wedding anniversary is quickly approaching. He also stays in close touch with his 100-year-old dad, often remoting into his dad’s computer in Rhode Island to keep it running smoothly and to teach new computer skills.

     Ken Wagman reports that after transferring to UC Santa Cruz as a junior, he stayed in Santa Cruz—and he’s still there! He has been teaching math at Gavilan Community College in Gilroy and is looking forward to the day when he can leave Zoom behind and return to the classroom. He’s a member of the local masters swim team, working to swim 100 yards in fewer seconds than his age in years. Ken says he’ll retire when teaching is no longer fun.

     Jaimee Kurfirst spent the first 20 years of her career in advertising TV production, and the next 20 years as a high school English teacher. She and her husband are now happily retired and have moved to Morristown to be with their grandsons.  They’ve been able to spend the quarantine with their family in beautiful rural New Jersey.

     Joe Reiff just retired after 30 years teaching religious studies at Emory & Henry College. He spent the second semester of junior year at Millsaps College in Mississippi, with the intention of returning to Wes for senior year. But he fell in love and stayed at Millsaps, and he and his wife have just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.  They’ve retired to Abingdon, Virginia to be near their three adult children and three grandchildren. Joe writes: “I loved teaching and will miss working with students; I won’t miss grading and assessment.”  In 2016 Oxford University Press published his book Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society.

     Polly Hays writes: “My personal COVID story is that I got sick in March 2020, just as Colorado was shutting down. Not sick enough to get tested at a time when tests were reserved for those on the verge of needing hospitalization, but in June I went for an antibody test out of curiosity, and it came back positive. I am now tested monthly as part of a study at Kaiser, and as of this note, still have antibodies 10 months after my presumed COVID. Some of my pandemic pastimes have included yoga, Feldenkrais, and qi gong classes in my living room; Zoom sings; and bike riding.”

     Carol Bellhouse is riding out the pandemic in Victoria, British Columbia, where she notes that the people are nice, the architecture is gorgeous, and spring flowers are in bloom. (Sorry, Texans.) She continues to write books, make movies, and practice law.

     David Harmin (I begged him to give me a note) says: “I’m still happy and privileged to be doing bioinformatics in Mike Greenberg’s neuroscience lab at Harvard Medical School. I miss visiting my two adult sons, who are scattered to the winds, one a geographer near Raleigh, North Carolina and the other a martial arts expert who is managing a pot shop in Saskatoon. I’d love to hear from Bernie Possidente and Jabez McLelland.”

     Keep in touch! Send me notes at any time; you don’t have to wait for the inevitable mass email plea we send out three times a year.

KAREN HARMIN | karen.harmin@gmail.com